Charrette Facilitation Method


The Charrette Facilitation Method is a collaborative and intensive workshop-style approach used in urban planning, architecture, and design processes to engage stakeholders in the creation of design solutions and plans for a specific project or development. The term “charrette” originates from the French word for “cart” or “chariot” and historically referred to an intense, last-minute effort by architecture students to complete their design projects. Today, charrettes have evolved into structured, multi-day workshops that encourage creativity, community input, and decision-making in design and planning projects.

Key Concepts

  1. Stakeholder Engagement: Charrettes emphasize involving a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including local residents, experts, government officials, and design professionals, in the design and planning process. This inclusive approach ensures that multiple perspectives are considered.
  2. Collaboration and Iteration: The charrette method promotes collaboration among participants. Design ideas are presented, discussed, and refined iteratively over a condensed period, allowing for rapid feedback and adaptation.
  3. Intensive and Time-Bound: Charrettes are typically time-bound and intensive, often lasting from a few days to a week. The concentrated timeframe fosters focused effort and creative problem-solving.
  4. Design Charette Studio: A dedicated design studio is often set up for the duration of the charrette. This studio serves as a central hub for collaboration, idea generation, and the display of design concepts and plans.
  5. Presentation and Feedback: Design teams present their ideas and concepts regularly throughout the charrette, receiving feedback from stakeholders. This iterative process helps refine designs and incorporate input.
  6. Design Integration: Charrettes aim to integrate various aspects of design and planning, including architecture, landscaping, transportation, and sustainability, into a cohesive plan or solution.

The Charrette Process

The Charrette Facilitation Method typically follows these steps:

  1. Preparation: The charrette begins with careful preparation, including the selection of a diverse group of stakeholders, identification of project goals, and establishment of a clear schedule.
  2. Design and Iteration: Design teams work intensively in the charrette studio to create design concepts and plans. These designs are regularly shared with stakeholders, who provide feedback.
  3. Community Engagement: Charrettes often include community engagement sessions, such as open houses or public meetings, to gather input from residents and other interested parties.
  4. Refinement: Based on feedback received, design teams refine their plans and concepts. This iterative process continues throughout the charrette.
  5. Final Presentation: At the end of the charrette, design teams present their final plans and recommendations to stakeholders and the broader community.
  6. Implementation Planning: Depending on the outcome, the charrette may lead to the development of an implementation plan, including timelines, budgets, and strategies for realizing the proposed designs.


The Charrette Facilitation Method is commonly used in various planning and design contexts, including:

  • Urban Planning: Charrettes help create comprehensive plans for cities, neighborhoods, or specific developments, integrating land use, transportation, and infrastructure.
  • Architectural Design: Architects use charrettes to engage clients and stakeholders in the design process for buildings and public spaces.
  • Sustainable Development: Charrettes are instrumental in the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly projects.
  • Transportation Planning: Charrettes aid in the planning of transportation systems, such as public transit networks and pedestrian-friendly streetscapes.
  • Campus and Park Design: Colleges, universities, and park authorities use charrettes to plan and design their campuses and public spaces.


  • Stakeholder Engagement: Charrettes ensure that the voices and needs of various stakeholders are considered in the planning and design process.
  • Rapid Decision-Making: The condensed timeframe of charrettes promotes quick decision-making and the development of design solutions.
  • Creative Problem-Solving: The collaborative nature of charrettes encourages creative problem-solving and innovative design solutions.


  • Resource-Intensive: Charrettes require significant resources, including time, manpower, and materials.
  • Limited Timeframe: The intensive nature of charrettes may not allow for in-depth research or analysis in certain cases.

In summary, the Charrette Facilitation Method is a dynamic and inclusive approach to urban planning, architecture, and design that engages stakeholders in a time-bound and creative process. By fostering collaboration and iterative design, charrettes help produce comprehensive and community-driven solutions for a wide range of projects.